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The Cowboys are ready as ever for their Thursday Night closeup

JENNI CARLSON — It's going to be tough to beat Brandon Weeden's debut and Dan Bailey's game-winner. But Oklahoma State-Arizona could feature some off-the-field drama and behind-the-scenes footage that shows the Cowboys are well-positioned.
by Jenni Carlson Published: September 7, 2011

STILLWATER — Drama abounds whenever Oklahoma State plays on Thursday night.

This time around is no different.

Except that the drama is off the field.

As OSU prepares for a Thursday night game against Arizona, conference realignment is all the rage. When will Texas A&M make its next move? Will the SEC be swayed by Baylor threatening a lawsuit? What will happen to the Big 12? What will the Oklahoma schools do?

It's anyone's guess, of course, but with both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State off this weekend, you have to wonder if the Bedlam buddies might announce their intentions soon.

Seems fitting that OSU is playing this high-profile, prime-time game now. It can show the college football world that the Cowboys belong in the realignment conversation.

“We bring something to the table,” Cowboy quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “If you asked five, six, seven years ago, maybe not as much. But we put ourselves on the map to give ourselves a chance to be an upper-echelon team, to be in any conference.

“Winning games takes care of that.”

True. True. True.

The Cowboys absolutely bring something to the table that they didn't always have. Their fortunes changed when Boone Pickens decided to invest millions in his alma mater's athletic department.

The megabooster recently recalled a chat that he had seven or eight years ago with OSU athletic director Mike Holder.

“If we're going to get competitive,” Holder said of football, “we're going to have to spend $300 million.”

“Mike,” Pickens said, “there is no way I'm going to do that.”

Well, he did.

One of the main reasons was Pickens' concern that the Big 12 wouldn't be around forever. If that happened, he worried that OSU would find itself on the outside looking in.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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